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NBC Gave Comcast Earnings a Big Boost Last Quarter

January 26, 2017

Miami Dolphins Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette StadiumMiami Dolphins Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette Stadium
An NFL Network Thursday Night Football broadcast.Photograph by Barry Chin — The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Comcast said its quarterly profit and revenue topped estimates as the nation’s largest cable operator reported higher sales from its NBCUniversal cable channels and broadcast networks.

Net income rose 16.5% to $2.3 billion, or 95 cents a share, during the company’s fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

Excluding items, earnings per share were 89 cents. Revenue rose 9.2% to $21.03 billion.

Analysts had expected 87 cents per share and revenue of $20.68 billion, according to Thomson Reuters (TRI).

Comcast (CMCSA) is grappling with competition from cheaper streaming options such as Netflix (NFLX), who last week reported strong subscriber numbers in the last quarter of 2016.

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Investors are also keeping a close watch on whether the company could face new competition if AT&T’s (T) proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner (TWX) is approved by regulators. AT&T said on Wednesday that it expects approval for the deal later this year.

Revenue at NBCUniversal, which Comcast acquired in 2011, rose 13%, helped by the popularity of Thursday Night Football and primetime shows such as This Is Us.

In the cable segment, revenue rose 7% as the company added video subscribers. In November, Comcast made Netflix available through the cable operator’s X1 set-top box.